Josh Hader & Zach Davies
The Milwaukee Brewers have two pitchers that have pretty good chances at All Star appearances this year. One was dominant last year and, aside from a few blips on the radar, has had similar success in 2019. The other was a bit more of a surprise.
Hader wasn’t expected to be the primary closer for the Brewers this year. But when Corey Knebel went down for the year before the season started and with Jeffress on the shelf, manager Craig Counsell decided he was going to use his best pitcher in just that role. The results were mostly what you would expect.
For the most part, Hader is even more unhittable than last year. His WHIP (.717), batting average against (.125) and BB% (8%) have gone down while his K/9 (17.6!!!) and K% (53.1%) have gone up. The one odd part is that he is giving up more homers, his HR/9 being up from 1.0 to 1.8. 6 of the 13 hits Hader has given up have been homers, so when batters connect, they connect hard. But most likely they don’t connect at all.
Among qualifying relievers in all of MLB, Hader’s K/9 and K% lead the way. Meanwhile, his batting average against and WHIP both rank in the top 10. Though he may not have a sub-2.00 ERA or anything, it would be hard to keep such an entertaining reliever out of the All Star game, though that is for the coaches to decide.
On the other hand, Zach Davies was much less expected to be so successful in 2019 based off of how he looked in 2018. All he has done, though, is step in and be the team’s ace all year.
Davies has given up more than two earned runs just once all year. That gives him a 2.20 ERA which would be the lowest of his career by far. If you remove the one six-earned run start from a couple weeks ago, it would be an even more impressive 1.49.
His 2.20 ERA places him third among NL starters in 2019. His six wins are also the most of any starter without a loss. Being a finesse pitcher, though, most of his other metrics (K%, BB%, WHIP, opponents batting average, etc.) rank around league average. The fact of the matter is, he’s gotten the job done when his team has needed him and that might be enough to translate to his first career All Star appearance.